MS & Radha - Saga of Steadfast Devotion

Books on Carnatic Music and those for / by / on musicians.
cacm
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#51

Post by cacm »

Ramesh,
What an ELOQUENT account of both mami& mama. I TOTALLY AGREE with you that any one fortunate enough to have known them at any level will have to consider them as you have correctly written that"they were god & goddess always showering us all with affection and we could not reciprocate even one millionth of the love&affection". We are better off remembering& celebratiing that we lived at the same time........VKV Incidentally MAMI taught various promising persons like K.V.N'S DAUGHTER among countless others a few pieces, listened & made suggestions. She was such a perfectionist probably given her time constraints she had no time to take on full time students. VKV

arasi
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#52

Post by arasi »

RMK and VKV,
Your recollections and conversations add another dimension to the life of an extraordinary couple of our times. We have read and have heard a lot about them, but your relationship with them as youngsters which continued for many years are reflected in your posts, adding more to what we already know.
They needed each other, and their partnership made an indelible mark in the history of music.
CML mentions NCV. I would add MLV's name to the list along with that of several other lesser known vidUshis. Though Sadasivam orchestrated MS's life, without his leading her, her musical gifts might have gone unnoticed. She might not have had the oppurtunities which were hers. Her spiritual blossoming might not have taken place. Without a husband whose mission was to present the world with a jewel of a musician, without his working toward that goal tirelessly, the nightingale would not have been heard much. May be yes, but not to the extent of growing into a legend and wonder. Her musical glory was the Taj Mahal her husband built years on end without stopping. Of course, she was malleable and was happy to be shaped by him but it all amounted to her becoming a blessing to the music world.

Your mention about Kalki and TKC brought childhood memories of my being touched by their aura, along with other writers of the day.
How true! Kalki Mama was simple and sweet-natured. In spite of his poor health, he was dynamic and had a mission and such zeal for promoting tamizh, bArati, literature, music and everything young India needed in order to grow into a nation that bArati envisioned. His kindness towards me (a mere child ) is to this day something I can never forget. I went to every possible glorious literary meeting of those literary giants. Their speeches were out of this world, Their tamizh, their mastery and creativity kept me spellbound. And Kalki was the organizer of it all...

cmlover
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#53

Post by cmlover »

arasi
..now I know where the love of Tamizh and poetic gifts come from...

cacm
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#54

Post by cacm »

Arasi,
YOU are right. The only slight enhancement I am tempted to make is to may be point out T.S. brought out the EXTRA-ORDINARY GREATNESS & TALENTS of not only M.S.Amma but C.R., KALKI, & T.K.C. A very great acheivement! To me its an unmatchable contribution to our culture & country...VKV

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#55

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

Arasi: Your summation about the "What-if" without TS's influence is astute and perceptive.Also I got a glimpse of your immense love of literature-Tamizh and the genuine interest in music and musicians.
In fact what I find most heartening in the rasikas forum readers --which makes me write more-- is the absolute rigor and ethics in discussing personalities without inserting one's prejudices(you will agree that Music appreciation does produce 'fanatics' unyielding in their beliefs). Stress on the positive rather than the prurient,titillating aspects of celebrities,is what I find endearing in the various posts covering the whole gamut of music and musicians.

I notice that you are a fan of TKC as well--I am no poet and as such I cannot contribute on that score--however I would like to add that TKC was a wonderful,discerning epicurean and great host--he lived in Courtallam and I have accompanied mama and mami when I was 14(during Semmangudi mama's daughter's wedding). he served us all one of the tenderest(like a flower) Iddly(the size was atleast 5 inches diam.)--I wonder if pans of that size are now available--Although I cannot recall one conversation thread(Kalki Mama was there as well so you can imagine how the conversation would have flowed) I kept on staring at the white bushy,well-groomed moustache of his !!

Need I say more about my poetic sensibilities if all I can write about a great writer is about his Iddly and his moustache!!!

cmlover
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#56

Post by cmlover »

RMK
there is a beautiful parody interpretation of the famous paasuram in extolling our 'iDli'.

Here is the paashuram:
pacchai maa malaipOl mEni pavaLa vaay kamalac che^NgaN
acchuthA amararERE aayar tham kozhunthE ennum
icchuvai thanai viDutthu yaan pOy indira lOkamaaLum
acchuvai peRinum vENDEn arangamaanagaruLaanE


( Oh my lord at thiruvarangam! this (iDli) made of fine paccharisi (fine tanjore rice) whose body is like a mountain (malai pOl mEni), while being eaten with the miLkaay poDi the mouth becoming quite red (pavaLa vaay) and from that hotness the eyes become red (che^n kaN); leaving this fine taste (icchuvai thanai viDutthu) if I were offered the kingdom of Indira (indira lOkamaaLum), I will not accept that offer (acchuvai peRinum vENDEn) ) :)

Pardon me! Just trying to inject some humour into these serious narrations! :)

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#57

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

CMLover: Enjoyed the parody!!! Looks like I have found a "digitalmate" who has a lighter side!! having been around musicians since the age of 6,I have been regaled very much by their wit and wisdom-hope to bring in these forums--perhaps on a different thread--some of those laughable anecdotes!!

cmlover
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#58

Post by cmlover »

Do share the lighter moments with MS and TS. We all would enjoy them!
Though you have stated that TS is quite 'fulminant' I have never seen MS even frown! How did they two get along? Was TS a sort of a domestic autocrat :)
(Don't answer if you don't know :)

arasi
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#59

Post by arasi »

Thank you RMK for your kind words, but whether I merit them to the full is questionable! CML 'enai abhimAnamAi Adarippavar' (one who supports me with such goodwill). He can also take the Suvai (relish) of kaNNan and turn it into a gourmand verse (the interpretation of it)! Remembering Kalki, we also think of AzhvArkKaDiYAn. How he would have protested! He might have retaliated by singing: maNNaDiccu aDi paTTu vANicci puTTu vaNGi VaNGit tinRAraDi ungaL perumAn :) Is Krishna (I mean, on the forum) listening?

TKC. What a presence he had! Such a handsome man too. And A. Srinivasa Raghavan, cA. gaNeSan, and their erudition and eloquence! A.S's voice was like honey. For me, someone who dreads speeches nowadays, especially in concerts, their words were manna from heaven...

cacm
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#60

Post by cacm »

cmlover wrote:Do share the lighter moments with MS and TS. We all would enjoy them!
Though you have stated that TS is quite 'fulminant' I have never seen MS even frown! How did they two get along? Was TS a sort of a domestic autocrat :)
(Don't answer if you don't know :)
Having been around many giant musicians as well as nobel laurates etc- I have been very lucky to be in presence of persons who were invariably infinitely smarter than me- I can say I was intimidated by the level & sharpness of wit of both T.S.& M.S. I had occasions too because of variuos "crazy" incidents& happenings etc. But I dare not share them in this forum as I can see the penetrating but gentle smiling face of M.S. right in front of me.......VKV

vasanthakokilam
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#61

Post by vasanthakokilam »

But I dare not share them in this forum as I can see the penetrating but gentle smiling face of M.S. right in front of me.......VKV
Nicely said, VKV sir :)

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#62

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

TS's Humor in response to CML.

A friend and admirer of Mama and Mami(apparently a Non-Hindu) sent telegram to Mama after his Mother-in-Law's death asking whether to bury her or cremate her:
Mama's reply--Do not take chances.Do Both!!!

About Mami's absolute lack of desire for money, wealth or material things.Whenever people mention of the crores she has raised, Mami would not be able to grasp the significance of it.
"Kunjamma does not know how many zeros are there in one crore"

Introducing Semmangudi mama to a non-musical celebrity,
Ivar than Kunjammakku Pattu Vadyar,Engalukku(the cards gang) Cheettu Vadyar!!
Over 50 years Kalki gardens was home to the Cards gang consisting of Mama,Semmangudi mama,K.S.Narayanaswamy,the Veena player, Subri a lawyer from Coimbatore and a freedom fighter and cell mate for Mama in several incarcerations,AVY narayanan(a Senior Civil Servant in GOI also called "all-count Narayanan(because he will always have full count in the rummy game Thiruvaiyaru Annaswamy Bhagavathar(harikatha exponent. Mama outlived each one of them excepting Semmangudi mama. Musiri mama might join occasionally when he visits Kalki gardens with the ostensible purpose of teaching MS Mami(this will also address one of the readers' question about Mami learning from Musiri Mama)--bulk of the time spent in the cards game with Mami sitting just watching(she had absolutely no inkling about the game --but at the end of each game she will sympathise with the loser as if this was Mahabharatha. and the loser was Dharmaputra!!
The cards game(small stakes 1 paise/point--at the end of the session the accounts will be squared and there would not be any winners or losers--I used to ask Mama why play for 3 or 4 hours for nothing? Mama would laugh it away saying it takes the mind off serious things. Mama would also never fold(no initial scoot or Middle scoot--I hope the non-card (nee "saints")players in the forum would understand these terminologies!!--This gives you a clue about Mama's philosophy towards risk in general and conviction that over time rewards would outweigh the risks--a bit of digression here. re Mama's high-risk games in real life!! I will revert to the card sessions and the lighter moments during those sessions,later..

mama's attitude towards risk. I had mentioned how Mama used both Swarajya and Kalki (at rajaji's behest) to carry his anti-Congress crusade(ideological fight bemoaning the abandonment of the Gandhian principles that he stood for. There was a time when there was shortage of newsprint and paper in general with strict controls. people around Mama would caution him against criticising the Govt(especially some of them vitriolic towards TTK who was commerce and industry Minister which doles out the licenses) for fear that under some pretext Kalki/Swarajya might be denied licenses to import. Mama was unflinching and carried his crusade with Rajaji's blessings.!!

Back to the card sessions. Semmangudi mama would play prudently,KSN would be extremely conservative and risk-averse,AVY always lived upto his reputation of All-Count Narayanan--Annaswamy Bhagavathar(he had a severe case of early parkinson's disease with severe hand tremors(I used to hold the cards for him) always had an excellent hand--two sequences,three or four jokers--all dealt and yet if I did not intervene he would go on picking cards and playing without realising that he had declared --Those few occasions when he did not have good cards,he was a nervous nellie(he would not scoot either!!) and keep on asking whenever the next man or the previous man picks up a card, AAchha,AAchha(meaning Is it over?). Semmangudi Mama would say "AAna Azhugai Sattam ketkada

(if there is death,will there not be mourning and crying!!)

More later.....

rajeshnat
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#63

Post by rajeshnat »

MKR
When you talk about cards, I also used to play cards (not with money) with my thatha , then watch my thatha play with his group of friends in the thinnai of mayavaram - kumbakonam belt . There is just total camaraderie in the game . There are some painful moments when a person does wrong declare , he has to pay full money to every other participant.

For all those who do not know rummy game and scoot. rummy is a game where you have to have atleast one set of real sequence some thing like 10 clubs, 9 clubs and 8 clubs and then one supporting sequence with a joker , then you can have others too. If one of the participant gets all of them and declares , if others dont have a real they give full 100 points .

Scoot is a term where in the player has an option to say that he is not playing after the cards are distributed. Scoot usually gives 25 points before he does not take even one card from the pack , if we decides to play and then scoots half way then he gives 50 points.

Just one question:
----------------------
Before MS amma and shri sadashivam moved into kotturpuram residence , in between kalki gardens and this house , they used to stay for many many years near my home in nungambakkam. ANy specific recollections there. BTW I do just know both of them never knew them as nightingale but more as one of the hmv casette artist who knows vishnu sahasranAmam. My elderly cousin sister is very close to MS amma , she was a lab technician in sankara nethralaya then.

Once once I have heard her singing in person . Rajaji's great grandson is my classmate for his upanayanam , she sang the original oru kuraiyum illatha kurai onrum illai. That memory only remains the most.

rshankar
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#64

Post by rshankar »

Ramasubramanian M.K wrote:
Over 50 years Kalki gardens was home to the Cards gang consisting of Mama,Semmangudi mama,K.S.Narayanaswamy,the Veena player, Subri a lawyer from Coimbatore and a freedom fighter and cell mate for Mama in several incarcerations,AVY narayanan(a Senior Civil Servant in GOI also called "all-count Narayanan(because he will always have full count in the rummy game Thiruvaiyaru Annaswamy Bhagavathar(harikatha exponent. Mama outlived each one of them excepting Semmangudi mama. Musiri mama might join occasionally when he visits Kalki gardens with the ostensible purpose of teaching MS Mami
Is this the same person as the composer Kovai Subri?

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#65

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

Rajeshnat: The Kalki Gardens-U.S.tour-Valluvar Kottam(Nungambakkam)-Kotturpuram spans the period post 1977-. is a very long and poignant story and in my mind eclipses all other previous stories of the couple in terms of fame,power,prestige.That period till their death Mama(1997) and Mami(2004),epitomises HOW human beings should handle adversity without rancor or disillusionment--their faith in Paramacharya and Bhagawan Sree Satya Baba was the powerful anchor that helped them tide over the period with head aloft and with dignity.

I will revert to this topic as it requires some cogent thinking for the narrative to be coherent and truthful. Bear with me.

Re; your earlier question re' Musiri Mama's training-- YES--Musiri Mama was the architect behind some of the krithis like Thiruvadi Charanam. Mama would always introduce Musiri Mama to people not familiar with CM as "the Musician OF Musicians". Ofcourse Mami was the "dream Pupil" that any Guru would covet--so much of respect for the Teacher,laser-focussed attentiveness,sincerity and genuine respect for the elders--if you are a witness to those sessions and if you do not have any idea of the "divide" between Musiri mama and Mami in terms of their world fame and recognition, you would be amazed at the genuine humility that Mami would show!! A light incident which my mother recently narrated about one such session.
Once when Musiri Mama was taking a lesson with Mami(it will always be in kalki Gardens--Mama would send the car--most of the time Semmangudi Mama would also be there(playing cards treating the exercise as a respite from teaching Mami !!),there was a phone call--in those days there were no chordless phones and in kalki Gardens Mama made it a point to have the main phone installed in the Main Hall--no phones in either of their bedrooms--the switchboard below at the Kalki Office premises was the conduit for the phone calls--all of them screened. before Mami could ask or the "help" informing who was calling, I believe Musiri mama intervened to ask WHO is the caller? When the help said it was from Chinnani mami,before Mami could say anything, Mama would say"Go,there would not be anymore lesson today because I know there would be a long conversation between you and Chinnani(he had tremendous affection for my Father and Mother--once when my mother was hit in a car accident in 1968 and recuperating from it Musiri mama wrote letters every fortnight-they are stilll available in our family archives)--Sorry for the digression. !!

To be continued----

P.S.Readers should not think I am using Kalki mama's trick(alluded to in one of my earlier posts!!--the imperatives of Samsaram beckon me!!!

s_hari
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#66

Post by s_hari »

"When the help said it was from Chinnani mami,before Mami could say anything, Mama would say"Go,there would not be anymore lesson today because I know there would be a long conversation between you and Chinnani"

I have heard this before!!! But, was it Musiri or TS mama, not sure?

-hari

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#67

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

rshankar's query about Kovai Subri-to my knowledge the Subri--the lawyer I refer to did not seem to have any poetic credentials,unless he felt his playing cards served humanity more than his poetry would!!!

also Hari's question -my mother tells me it was Musiri mama. Mama would"laugh" these endless conversations away with a light banter--- It was Mama in one of his visits to my brother's place in R.A.Puram who suggested in 1991 (that was 50 years since our families knew each other) to celebrate the 50th anniversary. A cake was ordered and the baker wrongly put 60 years instead of 50(this pic appears in my father's book the Musings on Music and Musicians) How prophetic-- the friendship lasted another 13 years till Mami's death in 2004

cmlover
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#68

Post by cmlover »

Thanks RMK for those uplifting humour and the light moments!
I remember SSI while being invited for close weddings remarking "vazhakkam pOlE kaccheri uNdu illayO.." many used to get puzzled since he was not singing , but that he meant cheeTTu :)

arasi
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#69

Post by arasi »

RSMK,
Your name typed this way looks like one of tamizh nADu's merchants--original, and those who came from Saurashtra! If Ramesh would suffice, we could address you thus :)

The anecdotes you share with us are heartwarming and connect us to the greats. While we relish them, the younger generation on the forum are even more thankful I think, to be connected to the personal history of the giants of yesteryears whom they admire no end.
Rajesh's post says it. It connects him with his grandfather, and it all goes to give them a whole picture of life and music which existed way before their time.
Just as the book MS & Radha - Saga of Steadfast Devotion brings images of yesteryears, your anecdotes are worth listening to. They add to all that our generation leaves behind for the coming generations of music lovers. You write with dignity and with an insider's knowledge, and yet keep it all objective...
Last edited by arasi on 14 Aug 2009, 22:00, edited 1 time in total.

baboosh
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#70

Post by baboosh »

rshankar wrote:
Ramasubramanian M.K wrote:
Over 50 years Kalki gardens was home to the Cards gang consisting of Mama,Semmangudi mama,K.S.Narayanaswamy,the Veena player, Subri a lawyer from Coimbatore and a freedom fighter and cell mate for Mama in several incarcerations,AVY narayanan(a Senior Civil Servant in GOI also called "all-count Narayanan(because he will always have full count in the rummy game Thiruvaiyaru Annaswamy Bhagavathar(harikatha exponent. Mama outlived each one of them excepting Semmangudi mama. Musiri mama might join occasionally when he visits Kalki gardens with the ostensible purpose of teaching MS Mami
Is this the same person as the composer Kovai Subri?

Yes.Kovai subri was the freedom fighter who also composed several songs on Lord Muruga and it has been published in 6 volumes.

Suji Ram
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#71

Post by Suji Ram »

How I wish now my grandpa was alive so I could ask him all the questions about his visit to Kalki Gardens. He was a tutor for a period of time for MSS's adopted son. My mother would tell me only recently that MSS would bring badam milk etc by her own hands to my Grandpa, and that he would hear her practice. It is only after seeing my craze about CM and musicians my mom opened up to tell all these things. My grandpa too passed away in 2004.

s_hari
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#72

Post by s_hari »

Arasi - I can also connect to MSAmma through my maternal grand father! Sri Athmanathan is close aid and secretary to MS amma and brother of K.R.Kedharanathan. Their mother lived in opposite house of my grand father in west mambalam chennai. MS Amma used to visit their home, and there used to be lot of excitement at our home, when i was a kid. People used to rush out to street to catch a glimpse of her.

Also, i am fortunate to see UN concert in doordarshan may be in late seventies! I still remember T.H.Vinayakaram doing "gatam catching" during tani!! Can't recollect anything else though):- Hope this concert video comes out in public. Also being fortunate to hear her Srimannarayana etc from balaji pancharathna mala in early 80s when the album was released..

-hari

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#73

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

Thanks Arasi for your nice note(#69). Let me clarify the confusion in my name. M.K.Ramasubramanian(MKR)--I am more known as Ramesh and for Semmangudi Mama I was Jalatarangam Ramanayya Chetti(I believe I had a hoarse voice when I was young that reminded him of the Jalatarangam vidwan). Then just to provoke my wife(Nirmala) he would call her as Rameshi,(although he knew their family well even before my marriage,her uncle being one of the camp-followers of Semangudi Mama.)---much to the consternation of the younger women folk whose "feminist" hackles would have been needlessly raised!!!You can address me as Ramesh and also MKR.

Now a few serious thoughts which I would like to put before this forum.

I have never in my life so far put down at length in words what I am writing about here. Although I helped my father in putting together in the book(my article on GNB was the first on artistes although I knew many of them fairly intimately),generally on the MS-TS relationship this is the First time I am opening out- even many of my own family members I have not shared these with. Mama(TS) himself was against any bio being written about him or Mami(his reaction was Did the great Masters ever sit and decide to trumpet their own deeds and why should we --ordinary mortals attempt unless it is to satisfy one's ego. Over the years with my parents settled down in Chennai and as the relationships with Mama and Mami grew stronger there were several attempts from various writers--some of them well known to the couple- to have our family--especially my mother to share some letters and photos from the archives-- My mother refused not because she is possessive but because she was afraid that some contents will be taken out of context and conclusions drawn that may be hurtful to the memories of a person who formed such a close bond with her and to whom our family is specially indebted !!

Then WHY I am choosing to open up now;two reasons
!.I have acquired tremendous respect for the readers of the forum--many of them young,knowledgeable and judging from the various posts in the wide range of topics,very objective,inquisitive,not-gossip-prone or spouting strong views about Music or Musicians--I am sure they all have their likes and dislikes but they are discreet about sharing them on the forum making the forum a "Clean", "sanitized" space to have thoughtful exchanges. The responses I have received so far have only reinforced my perception of the rasikas and have emboldened me to open up. I will be glad to share them so long as readers "indulge" me in some of the (allegedly") humorous detours that I make--some of them might seem mean-spirited to some and not in keeping with the decorum of the forum--but absolutely no malice intended-- sometimes when you are young you tend to make some snap judgements about "celebrities" that one comes across which later on prove to be utterly wrong and are due to our inability to mature faster with those experiences. Later on as one reflects on those encounters I have realised how wrong I was in my judgements about both Music and Musicians. I have tried to correct them in my posts here.

2. Second reason--this is more important-- during the last years (or possible decades) of their life, I came across lots of misinformation and judgements,rumors swirling around even amongst erstwhile close friends of Mama and Mami who felt "cut off" because Mama and Mami decided to "fade" away from public life and the restricted access(that was even more rigorously enforced after Mama's death) fueled more rumors about Mami's condition etc etc--I will recite one of the most embarrassing moments(post-Mama period) in my life later on in one of the threads,when I was put temporarily in charge of defending the "fort"(Kotturpuram) when Athma had to attend to some important business for half a day!!). I felt especially after the TJ George book compelled to rebut and then checked myself-- the bulk of my professional career has been with the Book Publishing Industry and I am familiar with all the facets of Publishing both in the US and India and the book and other similar-vein articles,tidbits are all par for the Publishing industry--sensationalize and sell books especially about personalities who have throughout resisted media intrusion in their lives--trying to rebut these especially from an avowed admirer would only exacerbate the situation and lend legitimacy to an otherwise speculative work. So I decided to keep quiet.
Rather than rebut those rumors or half-truths, if I "weave" my narrative with anecdotes and insights,the readers of the forum(who are all quite familiar with the CM Music landscape and irrespective of their ages are inquisitive and responsible) would draw their own conclusions.Point: the references to my family or myself are only to put the incident in context and offer my own insights--many a time I have reacted to some of the incidents at the time they happened and made some hasty judgements about Mama and later on as I matured and saw their lives in a wider canvas,I realised how much I was wrong--so if it can happen to me with so many chances to clear the misperceptions, how can I take umbrage at a casual writer not familiar with the subject writing something that at best is "mean-spirited if not scandalously scurrilous!! As I have said in several of the posts,my credentials or my family's credentials are NON_EXISTENT. This is not about ourselves. 200 years from now we may not even merit a footnote in the works about Mama and Mami. This is TOTAL HONESTY AND NOT MODESTY.

Lastly my father would have been proud to see this had he been alive--throughout he coaxed me,cajoled me into writing pieces or reviews etc and I pig-headedly and stubbornly refused. Now I am writing at the drop of a hat--his writings,reviews(as some of you who are in Chennai would have been familiar with) was always positive accenting the good in public and pointing out the areas for improvement in one-on-one sessions with the artiste. I am of the same mold--there are so many good things to write about people like Mami/Mama in public life that it is a waste of time chasing some "alleged" insignificant infraction or transgressions.

Abe Lincoln said it aptly: Justice to All and Malice to none"--this is my motivation.

rshankar
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#74

Post by rshankar »

Sri MKR - Very well said! Please continue to enlighten us.

cacm
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#75

Post by cacm »

Ramasubramanian M.K wrote:Thanks Arasi for your nice note(#69). Let me clarify the confusion in my name. M.K.Ramasubramanian(MKR)--I am more known as Ramesh and for Semmangudi Mama I was Jalatarangam Ramanayya Chetti(I believe I had a hoarse voice when I was young that reminded him of the Jalatarangam vidwan). Then just to provoke my wife(Nirmala) he would call her as Rameshi,(although he knew their family well even before my marriage,her uncle being one of the camp-followers of Semangudi Mama.)---much to the consternation of the younger women folk whose "feminist" hackles would have been needlessly raised!!!You can address me as Ramesh and also MKR.

Now a few serious thoughts which I would like to put before this forum.

I have never in my life so far put down at length in words what I am writing about here. Although I helped my father in putting together in the book(my article on GNB was the first on artistes although I knew many of them fairly intimately),generally on the MS-TS relationship this is the First time I am opening out- even many of my own family members I have not shared these with. Mama(TS) himself was against any bio being written about him or Mami(his reaction was Did the great Masters ever sit and decide to trumpet their own deeds and why should we --ordinary mortals attempt unless it is to satisfy one's ego. Over the years with my parents settled down in Chennai and as the relationships with Mama and Mami grew stronger there were several attempts from various writers--some of them well known to the couple- to have our family--especially my mother to share some letters and photos from the archives-- My mother refused not because she is possessive but because she was afraid that some contents will be taken out of context and conclusions drawn that may be hurtful to the memories of a person who formed such a close bond with her and to whom our family is specially indebted !!

Then WHY I am choosing to open up now;two reasons
!.I have acquired tremendous respect for the readers of the forum--many of them young,knowledgeable and judging from the various posts in the wide range of topics,very objective,inquisitive,not-gossip-prone or spouting strong views about Music or Musicians--I am sure they all have their likes and dislikes but they are discreet about sharing them on the forum making the forum a "Clean", "sanitized" space to have thoughtful exchanges. The responses I have received so far have only reinforced my perception of the rasikas and have emboldened me to open up. I will be glad to share them so long as readers "indulge" me in some of the (allegedly") humorous detours that I make--some of them might seem mean-spirited to some and not in keeping with the decorum of the forum--but absolutely no malice intended-- sometimes when you are young you tend to make some snap judgements about "celebrities" that one comes across which later on prove to be utterly wrong and are due to our inability to mature faster with those experiences. Later on as one reflects on those encounters I have realised how wrong I was in my judgements about both Music and Musicians. I have tried to correct them in my posts here.

2. Second reason--this is more important-- during the last years (or possible decades) of their life, I came across lots of misinformation and judgements,rumors swirling around even amongst erstwhile close friends of Mama and Mami who felt "cut off" because Mama and Mami decided to "fade" away from public life and the restricted access(that was even more rigorously enforced after Mama's death) fueled more rumors about Mami's condition etc etc--I will recite one of the most embarrassing moments(post-Mama period) in my life later on in one of the threads,when I was put temporarily in charge of defending the "fort"(Kotturpuram) when Athma had to attend to some important business for half a day!!). I felt especially after the TJ George book compelled to rebut and then checked myself-- the bulk of my professional career has been with the Book Publishing Industry and I am familiar with all the facets of Publishing both in the US and India and the book and other similar-vein articles,tidbits are all par for the Publishing industry--sensationalize and sell books especially about personalities who have throughout resisted media intrusion in their lives--trying to rebut these especially from an avowed admirer would only exacerbate the situation and lend legitimacy to an otherwise speculative work. So I decided to keep quiet.
Rather than rebut those rumors or half-truths, if I "weave" my narrative with anecdotes and insights,the readers of the forum(who are all quite familiar with the CM Music landscape and irrespective of their ages are inquisitive and responsible) would draw their own conclusions.Point: the references to my family or myself are only to put the incident in context and offer my own insights--many a time I have reacted to some of the incidents at the time they happened and made some hasty judgements about Mama and later on as I matured and saw their lives in a wider canvas,I realised how much I was wrong--so if it can happen to me with so many chances to clear the misperceptions, how can I take umbrage at a casual writer not familiar with the subject writing something that at best is "mean-spirited if not scandalously scurrilous!! As I have said in several of the posts,my credentials or my family's credentials are NON_EXISTENT. This is not about ourselves. 200 years from now we may not even merit a footnote in the works about Mama and Mami. This is TOTAL HONESTY AND NOT MODESTY.

Lastly my father would have been proud to see this had he been alive--throughout he coaxed me,cajoled me into writing pieces or reviews etc and I pig-headedly and stubbornly refused. Now I am writing at the drop of a hat--his writings,reviews(as some of you who are in Chennai would have been familiar with) was always positive accenting the good in public and pointing out the areas for improvement in one-on-one sessions with the artiste. I am of the same mold--there are so many good things to write about people like Mami/Mama in public life that it is a waste of time chasing some "alleged" insignificant infraction or transgressions.

Abe Lincoln said it aptly: Justice to All and Malice to none"--this is my motivation.
It so happens myself& my brother& sister-in-law( Dr. V.K.Balsubrahmanyan & Saroja) along with me were VERY CLOSE to M.S.& T.S. esp after their '[66 tour of North America. T.S. was very careful as infinite number of authors wanted to write a biography of M.S. The general view of those who did not know T.S. was that he was a "Tyrant" etc. BOTH of them were fully aware of such views thanks to close friends etc. T.S. used to ask a simple question of any prospective author: What is new that is NOT already known about M.S. you are going to write about? EVERY prospective author was stumped! T.S. was SMART THAT WAY. However TFS George whose claim to fame was his book on V.K.Krishna Menon which got awards etc who was hounding them for many many years got the plum opportunity. IT was a bad judgement taken when T.S. was not in good health- he might have passed away by then -
& I have to partly blame the ones close to M.S.S.-I am not here to name names- who showed poor judgement. When they had enough time they DID NOT do enough to prevent this outcome. After ALL the access to M.S. this "great Author" has come up with mostly what can kindly be called MOSTLY TRASH. His writing style is good but he has wasted the opportunity to write about one of the GREATEST SOULS WE HAVE SEEN IN OUR LIFE TIME by succumbing to base instincts.....Of course GREATNESS cannot be just brought down by UNSUBSTANTIATED claims as well as "great writing" hiding under the FACADE of writing truth.....vkv

I also want REFUTE all the non-sense about M.S. in her last months. I had met her to give the invitation to my son's wedding just less than 2 months before she passed away; SHE WAS AS bright, cheerful & as sharp as any time I had known her well in at least 50 years. Actually having dealt with M.S. for over 50 years as well as close to 25 Nobel Laurates I want to say I was more intimidated by the SHARPNESS, INTELLIGENCE & GENIUS OF M.S.! As Pithamagar SEM himself had observed" Her ability to absorb things was like Neruppu-fire-! JUST THE EYES & HER EXPRESSION WAS ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU THINK AT LEAST TWICE BEFORE YOU MADE A SERIOUS OBSERVATION....VKV
Last edited by cacm on 15 Aug 2009, 01:40, edited 1 time in total.

cacm
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#76

Post by cacm »

INCIDENTALLY Ramesh was working for Double day with none other than Jacqueline Kennedy & was involved with lots of books about INDIA; He knows what he is writing about! I forgot to mention it in post above #75!VKV
Last edited by cacm on 15 Aug 2009, 01:59, edited 1 time in total.

cmlover
Posts: 11498
Joined: 02 Feb 2010, 22:36

#77

Post by cmlover »

MKR
It is great that your anecdotes are provoking other members who have been silent to participate with their side of the stories. History of great persons are built that way with everybody pitching in with their memories and experiences. were it not for Boswell would we have known about Dr. Johnson? Your writing style is ingenuous but fascinating! No doubt you were associated with the book publishing industry as you appear to use correctly the right phrases. We are very grateful to you for opening up after a long time instead of carrying your experiences and stories to the grave. This Forum is fortunate to have your frank unvarnished cogitations and your willingness to answer our queries. I hope you would tolerate my humourous quips from time to time as professionally I believe that humour is the right antidote to relieve tensions and encourage free flow of thought. If it is distracting or you find it non sequitur do let me know and I will be happy to keep mum. The agenda is directed by you and we are all "active" listeners!

VKV

I am glad that you would be willing to open up too in the company of MKR. Two heads are better than one! Please do not quote long posts verbatim since it unnecessarily takes up useful white space! By all means comment and add to what MKR says but if you wish to pursue your own recollections do start a separate thread. We are much obliged for your participation especially since you would be our official Historian for tracing the 'humble' beginnings of CM in NA which is a fascinating story, much larger than MS and TS!

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#78

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

CMLover/fellow rasikas. Thanks for the generous feedback.
In post# 73 I had alluded to an embarrassing moment in my life--here it is;

After Mamas' death in 1997,Mami did not make any public experiences except the trip to Delhi to accept the Bharat Rathna Award--the only places she would visit were Radha's and my mother's in R.A.Puram. They were in Kotturpuram,I think since the nineties. Even when Mama was alive they had cut down on public outings,concerts and even social occasions except to those houses they were very close to. After mama's death there had to be some discipline on visitors barging in all with genuine intentions no doubt and Athma because he was entrusted with the responsibility of Mami's reputation and welfare,scrupulously executed this responsibility without playing any favorites ,much to the discomfiture of several "old" friends in high places. In 2001,I had gone with my mother(I was still working here in US) to Kotturpuram in the morning with the intention of returning by noon. But then Athma had an urgent assignment that involved making a short car trip outside Chennai limits(otherwise he was spending 24 hours-7 days-365 days in Kotturpuram(his children had grown and got married and his wife was living in their rented house in Annanagar and he would go home to take care of chores but his main focus was on running the Kottur establishment besides attending to his business commitments). So he had sent instructions to me to stay till he returns which I did.

Around 2 P.M. a gentleman with another male assistant shows up-he had grey hair was wearing the typical Kurta,Pyjama with the waist coat. Igreet him in the Poyl of the house--he tells me he is sorry to barge in without an appointment and that he is leaving for Delhi in the afternoon and he wanted to drop in and pay Ms Mami his respects. Like an idiot I am(I had been warned that many people would try to gain access using subterfuges) I was convinced this was another gate-crasher. I politely but firmly told him that he cannot see without an appointment and that he should try the next time he visits Chennai. he insisted saying he will take only 5 minutes and told me to tell Mami that ------ wants to see her and pay his respects. When he mentioned his name my jaw dropped and I was looking for the tiniest hole in Kotturpuram to "crawl"in!!'

Guess who was the person?
PANDIT JASRAJ!!(I must confess I had never been to a live concert of his nor do I own his CD's nor have I seen his picture before so that I could not identify him and he being a modest person he was,never showed me up despite some unintended but unpardonably boorish behavior!! Ofcourse the next 15 minutes of conversation I acted a s an interpreter because Mami's Hindi was rusty and Panditji spoke to her both in English and Hindi intermittently. I atoned for this boorishness in NY when he visited the Hindu temple for a concert of his disciple,did Namaskar and laid my claim to infamy reminding him of the incident he laughed it off much to his grace and credit!!!

Artistes of such stature are entitled to an ego which would have been bruised by such thoughtless moments but Panditji was not !!
In History,I read somewhere about Napoleon's outsized ego. I beleive once when he was doing his "late night rounds in Paris ----just to see what people think of him and his regime--he went in street clothes with the ADC's way behind him- he accosts an old woman with a hunchback,fading eyesight and asks her some questions to which the lady replied indifferently(or so it seemed to the Emperor!!). Napoleon gets put off and asks the woman"You silly woman do you know who I am to which the lady replies WHO ARE YOU? By now incensed, Napoleon answers her:


CORSICAN BY BIRTH,FRENCH BY ADOPTION AND EMPEROR BY ACHIEVEMENT!!!

I do not think this explanation made any difference to the Woman but Napoleon was perhaps happy that he had let off steam!!!

cacm
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#79

Post by cacm »

Ramesh,
I am glad you are paying proper attention to Athma's tireless sevices. VKV

rajeshnat
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#80

Post by rajeshnat »

MKR Sir,
Your post #73 is superb. Now with the kennedy connection you are slowly becoming like kevin costner in the movie JFK. Just one useful input, since you are going to give long biographies about many, try also documenting or double posting in your notepad(personal pc) and save it . That way you can always choose to present all your daily long writings into a small pdf or a book . That way those who are coming late into this forum will read it.

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#81

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

Rasikas: Just to redirect your attention to posts# 30 and 31 in the Technical Discussions thread where I have posted an MLV-Flute joke!!
Rajeshnat: Your point is well-taken re: "gathering these notes in PDF format etc. Apparently you have forgotten to note my earlier confessions--I am a digital luddite and I can use some help in doing what you are suggesting!!

Thanks anyway for the thought. I have no intention of writing a book but I do not mind writing ad nauseum for Rasikas readers!!

CM lover, thanks for your note on my writing skills(or lack of them!!). The truth is my entire experience in the Book Publishing Industry was in the Business side--Finance Warehousing- My job was to be the gate-keeper for the unrealistic soaring ambitions of Editors like Jackie Kennedy who sincerely believed that there are so many Indophiles in the World who would not hesitate to plunk down $75(almost 20 years ago) for a book on "Obscure Art in the palaces of Jaipur".She and others of her ilk--however well-intentioned they may be--have no idea of the pocketbook economics of most avid readers--the people in high places--her frirends-- who would rave about such expensive "Coffee Table Books(as they are called in the Industry) would all be getting FREE autographed copies(at the Publishers' expense--not from their Royalties!!). Notwithstanding all this I have never met a more gracious,civil person than her.

She was an enigma to the outside world but was still a very quiet,reserved person at work--she bought her own coffee from the Company Cafetaria herself--no secretaries fetching her coffee or doing her errands--like Xeroxing--she would stand in line--when she worked we had not got printers etc!!

baboosh
Posts: 140
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 17:34

#82

Post by baboosh »

cmlover wrote:MKR
It is great that your anecdotes are provoking other members who have been silent to participate with their side of the stories. History of great persons are built that way with everybody pitching in with their memories and experiences. were it not for Boswell would we have known about Dr. Johnson? Your writing style is ingenuous but fascinating! No doubt you were associated with the book publishing industry as you appear to use correctly the right phrases. We are very grateful to you for opening up after a long time instead of carrying your experiences and stories to the grave. This Forum is fortunate to have your frank unvarnished cogitations and your willingness to answer our queries. I hope you would tolerate my humourous quips from time to time as professionally I believe that humour is the right antidote to relieve tensions and encourage free flow of thought. If it is distracting or you find it non sequitur do let me know and I will be happy to keep mum. The agenda is directed by you and we are all "active" listeners!

VKV

I am glad that you would be willing to open up too in the company of MKR. Two heads are better than one! Please do not quote long posts verbatim since it unnecessarily takes up useful white space! By all means comment and add to what MKR says but if you wish to pursue your own recollections do start a separate thread. We are much obliged for your participation especially since you would be our official Historian for tracing the 'humble' beginnings of CM in NA which is a fascinating story, much larger than MS and TS!
True to your comments,let me also share my short and close association on a couple of times with the couple.Once TS and MS had come to pay obeisance to H.H.Periyava at Kanchi and also to inform about conclusion of a mandalabhishekam to navagraha for Radha mami's health which was asked to be done by H.H.Then TS was standing very close to me.He was also a distant relation of ours though by efflux of time we had lost touch.I mentioned my great grandfather's name,Late.S.Sivaramakrishnaiyer of Trichy and asked whether he remembered him.He immediately replied that he was his cousin and asked about me .I told him I was his great grand son.Then he immediately commented to another relation of ours,Mr.M.G.BalasubramanianI.A.S who accompanied them that the boy(Myself) was closely related to them.Then he enquired about allof us in the family.M.S also gleefully recalled all the past .She also visited my mother when she was conceived with me in her womb.I requested her to record a L.P about H.H more specifically the song,Chandrasekharam aashraye.She replied that she was about to release that shortly.T.S also asked me to visit them at Nungambakkam,but I was put off by their stature.Then also during many concerts I used to greet them and just exchange pleasantries with them.She had also performed at many of our family weddings and other functions witha song or two

cmlover
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#83

Post by cmlover »

Hi trivia buffs!
You are likely to get a lot of victuals on your plate. Arun, our resident quiz master may be avidly digesting them and will challenge you in due course. Vikram, the Royal Historian from Mysore may also be looking for pearls for his next book. By all means, all of you do so with proper acknowledgements to the authors and sources. Just keep in mind this Forum has no copyright on materials (or liability :) )written here but the authors do :)

MKR
The episode with Pt. Jasraj was quite entertaining. Remember the story of George :)

"Two guys were chatting when the first was blowing the trumpet on George who was internationally best known while the second one was skeptical. Just then they passed a cavalcade led by the Pope. Gleefully the first one pointed to one of the guys and exclaimed : " Look there is George! But I do not know the guy in the funny cap that he is accompanying!" :)

I am eagerly looking forward to the story of the link betweeen TS and PeriyavaaL and the subsequent relationship with MS. Do get to it whenever you are ready...

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#84

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

CMLOVER: Just to reassure you all I have not gone into hibernation!!Have been busy last 10 days with the Ganesha Chathurthi Festival here in NY.
I have been thinking hard as to How take this subject forward without boring people.Initially it started with the Gowri Book and later evolved into TS's history and I am ambivalent about readers' interest. I am not soliciting an opinion poll here but I want to respect rasikas' boundaries as to the relevance of what I am writing to the goals of the forum-namely exchange ideas on the theory , practice and appreciation of music.

Feedback would be welcome.As I had written in one of my earlier posts,in response to one of the readers' request for expanding on the 1977 tour and the pre and post 1977 period in their lives,this requires a little bit of introspection as to how to present it without sounding morbid and remorseful.

I will resolve this dilemma and will revert to it soon.

Ramasubramanian M.K
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#85

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K »

Dear CM Lover: I will be posting on the M.S.Amma thread henceforward--so you can follow it there--I will cover the Paramacharya association besides other topics.I will keep in mind your advice about being objective without being gossipy or hurtful.Thanks for the encouragement.

cmlover
Posts: 11498
Joined: 02 Feb 2010, 22:36

#86

Post by cmlover »

Thanks!
Look forward to your exciting anecdotes which entertain as well as stimulate thinking about the gracious musical personalities.

mukundan
Posts: 1
Joined: 24 Sep 2009, 20:53

#87

Post by mukundan »

Hello I'M Mukundan and I thank all the visitors and refferals of my site www.mukundan.co.in.
Regarding the topic of Evarimata of Amma. it is like this that this is ver released in 1934.Note it is not recorded in 34.
two songs where recorded at the age of 10[not eight as people talk abt].Two songs at the age of 14
This is what i have heard from some of my friends who where with hmv factory in dum dum before.

Any way the label says M.S.SUBBALAKSHMI [AGED 10YRS]
MADURA IN the record maragadhavad
In evarimata no age is mentioned

IF required i can scan and post the labels in web
Mukundan

cienu
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#88

Post by cienu »

mukundan wrote: IF required i can scan and post the labels in web
Mukundan
Hello Mukundan,

Ofcourse you can scan the labels. :)

raj-123
Posts: 64
Joined: 24 Dec 2006, 20:36

#89

Post by raj-123 »

I got this book from Shri Shankar Ramachandran, Awesome book. thanks for this thread!

cienu
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#90 Re: MS & Radha - Saga of Steadfast Devotion

Post by cienu »

Interesting story by V Ramnarayan - Editor of Sruti, on how this book "MS & Radha - Saga of Steadfast Devotion" came to be published.
Please scroll down for the article - "The book we made at home"
http://www.msstribute.org/bookrelease.php

rshankar
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#91 Re: MS & Radha - Saga of Steadfast Devotion

Post by rshankar »

Wow Cienu! Didn't really think you were such a slave driver!! Thanks for sharing...

Shreya Devnath
Posts: 10
Joined: 18 Jun 2011, 10:35

#92 Graphic novel (Pictorial biography) on Smt M.S. Subbulakshmi

Post by Shreya Devnath »

Would like to inform you about the First ever graphic novel/pictorial biography on Smt MS Subbulakshmi. Please see the post on Pictures of Melody in this site and visit http://www.lakshmidevnath.com for more details and a preview of the book. Available for purchase on http://www.Kalakendra.com

venkatakailasam
Posts: 4170
Joined: 07 Feb 2010, 19:16

#93 Re: MS & Radha - Saga of Steadfast Devotion

Post by venkatakailasam »

Initially this thread was started with the Smt.Gowri Ramnarayan's Book and later evolved into TS's history.......

Here is another book....

MS: A Life in Music….A biography of MS Subulakshmi by TJS George,a journalist.. A veteran senior journalist and one of the best known columnists in India and a Padma Bhushan awarde (2011)

I read this book recently….a Harper Collins India Publications....

If you can get hold of a copy, read it...

Malavika
Posts: 3
Joined: 15 Dec 2016, 20:43

#94 Re: MS & Radha - Saga of Steadfast Devotion

Post by Malavika »

I'm in India.... In Pune.... Where and how can I get this book? I'm searching a lot but I'm not getting!!

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